The World SF Blog

Speculative Fiction from Around the World

British Fantasy Awards 2010

From The British Fantasy Society:

Here are the winners of the British Fantasy Awards 2010, as announced at the British Fantasy Awards ceremony at FantasyCon 2010.

Best Novel: the August Derleth Fantasy Award

ONE, Conrad Williams (Virgin Horror)

Best Novella

THE LANGUAGE OF DYING, Sarah Pinborough (PS Publishing)

Best Short Fiction

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU WAKE UP IN THE NIGHT, Michael Marshall Smith (Nightjar)

Best Anthology

THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF BEST NEW HORROR 20, edited by Stephen Jones (Constable and Robinson)

Best Collection

LOVE SONGS FOR THE SHY AND CYNICAL, Robert Shearman (Big Finish)

The PS Publishing Best Small Press Award


Best Comic/Graphic Novel

WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE CAPED CRUSADER?, Neil Gaiman and Andy Kubert (DC Comics/Titan Books)

Best Artist

VINCENT CHONG, for work including covers for The Witnesses Are Gone (PS Publishing) and The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror 20 (Constable & Robinson)

Best Non-Fiction

ANSIBLE, David Langford

Best Magazine/Periodical

MURKY DEPTHS, edited and published by Terry Martin

Best Television

DOCTOR WHO, head writer: Russell T Davies (BBC Wales)

Best Film

LET THE RIGHT ONE IN, directed by Tomas Alfredson (EFTI)

Best Newcomer – the Sydney J. Bounds Award


The British Fantasy Society Special Award: the Karl Edward Wagner Award


The British Fantasy Award winners were decided by a vote of the combined memberships of the British Fantasy Society, FantasyCon 2009 and FantasyCon 2010. The exceptions are the Sydney J. Bounds Award, decided by a panel of appointed judges, and the Karl Edward Wagner Award, decided by the British Fantasy Society and FantasyCon 2010 committees.

The winner of the BFS Short Story Competition 2010 was also announced during the ceremony. The winning story was “Omar the Teller of Tales” by Robin Tompkins. The runner-up was “The Song” by Travis Heermann, and third place went to “Beating Heart” by Dan Malach.

September 30, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Comments Off on British Fantasy Awards 2010

InterNova: International Science Fiction e-zine

InterNova, edited by Michael Iwoleit, recently re-launched itself as an e-zine. Here’s its latest table of contents:

Gerson Lodi-Ribeiro (Brazil): Peak Time

Eduardo J. Carletti (Argentina): God’s Gut

Arthur Goldstuck (South Africa): The Fabulous Yesterdays

Aleksandar Ziljak (Croatia): What Colour Is the Wind?

Eric Brown (England): Thursday’s Child

Sven Klöpping (Germany): Let’s Talk About Death, Baby

In the classic section:

Lino Aldani (Italy): Red Rhombuses

Renato Pestriniero (Italy): The People in the Painting

In the nonfiction section:

Richard Kunzmann (South Africa): The Eclipse of a Genre and the Birth of a Nova

Lavie Tidhar (Israel): Science Fiction, Globalization, and the People’s Republic of China

September 29, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | 1 Comment

Interview with Samit Basu

This week, we interview Samit Basu, author of The GameWorld trilogy, among others.

Hi! Thanks for agreeing to do the interview. In your India Today interview, you mentioned that you never planned on becoming a writer. What made you decide to suddenly drop out of college and write a book?

I’d always wanted to be a writer – I guess most writers do. But it’s not something you can plan towards in India, unless you’re in a very small group of people whose families are established in the arts. It’s like everyone wants to be an astronaut, a rockstar or a movie star at some point. I don’t really know how it is in the rest of the world, but in the West of my imagination if you wanted to be a writer you’d have some way of going about it, even in the pre-broadband era – there are literary magazines, MFAs in colleges, genre magazines for whatever you’re into, and a large and fairly accessible community of fellow writers. It wasn’t like that for me at all, growing up in India, and definitely wasn’t like that for most people in my generation. But I’m talking eight years and five books ago.

I was good at exams, which meant the Indian academic system – which is brutal and rigorous – wasn’t a problem, and I was set to be a Good Successful Indian Boy, which meant an economics/engineering/medical degree (as opposed to an Eng-Lit degree, which I wanted to do but was advised not to because of the lack of Career Prospects), ideally followed by an MBA from an Indian Ivy-league B-school. And I got into the best one, IIMA, a sort of Indian Harvard, and it wasn’t the sort of place you turned down.

Most of my school and college life was an exercise in finding out I didn’t want to study further in that field. I did Economics in college, which was very interesting, but not a field I thought I could contribute anything new to at all.

I wanted to be a writer, but I still hadn’t had an idea that I was convinced I could turn into a book. So I promised myself that if this idea ever came to me, I’d drop whatever I was doing and go home and write the book. Perhaps unfortunately, this idea came to me around two weeks into my MBA. The decision was aided by the fact that I wasn’t enjoying business school at all – and everyone around me seemed to be having the time of their lives.
This was in 2001, and my first novel, The Simoqin Prophecies, was finished in early 2002.

Why fantasy/science fiction? Is there another term you prefer to describe your writing, such as speculative fiction?

I often ask myself why fantasy/SF, or speculative fiction or whatever you may call it. I’ve never really been hugely interested in classification – I also write comics, and I don’t call them graphic novels, for instance. I do like the term speculative fiction, though. But then all fiction is speculative, isn’t it?
In my case, it was simply this – the first idea that was bookworthy was a fantasy idea, and some of my favourite books were fantasy books. But genre/mainstream/literary politics was something I only really became aware of after I met the publishing world, which was after I finished my first novel.
Again, my perspective on all this was not very educated. Large chain bookstores with separate shelves for different genres were a fairly new thing in India at that point. I’d seen really big segmented bookstores when I’d travelled abroad, but I didn’t really understand that my book was a fantasy novel through and through until I started trying to get it published – rather, I did, but I was not aware of the ramifications of this at all, because in my mind it was just another story. I was lucky in the sense that Penguin India, who finally picked it up around a year after I submitted it, are the biggest English language publishers in the country, and since I was 22 and an IIMA dropout the newspapers picked up the story – so I didn’t eventually face the problems that most SFF debut writers in the West face, which is a lack of mainstream visibility.

Why do I continue to write fantasy? Because it’s so much fun, because of the lack of constraints, because you can examine really big real-world themes and more-than-mundane people. Most of my work in books and comics is straight-up fantasy, though I’ve done some SF short stories, a YA adventure featuring the son of Mowgli trying to retried a stolen jewel on the Titanic, and my new novel is a superhero novel set in India, Pakistan and England in 2009 – does that fall under fantasy? Or is it SF? Or is it a completely different thing? I don’t particularly care, and my Indian publishers are selling it like a mainstream novel.

Indian audiences weren’t really familiar with the idea of fantasy literature when I started my first book tour. Harry Potter and LOTR were big, of course, but I would either get called an SF writer, or a children’s writer, or get suspicious looks because people thought I wrote porn.

What were the challenges in writing when you started out? How about now? For readers unfamiliar with India’s literary scene, how would you describe the current speculative fiction field? In your opinion, what sets Indian speculative fiction apart from Western speculative fiction?
Well, all the usual challenges writers face across the world, I suppose, plus a few uniquely Indian ones. I’m sure your readers know what the standard difficulties writers face are – in the Indian case, when I started out, there was the additional burden of being expected to write a three-generation family saga, or anything else that was definitely Indian, ethnic in some way. The ticket to a safe western publishing deal was writing literary exotica. Or something equally stereotypical, like a straight retelling Hindu myths, or something to do with the Kama Sutra, or yoga, or finding yourself, or other equally marketable Indian-culture things. Not that this is a problem of the West alone – it works in India as well. At this point, I’ve turned down six offers to write an LOTR (film) style trilogy of Bollywood films based on Indian epics. The same logic applies in comics as well.

A problem for me specifically was that I had to explain to a lot of people what fantasy was, so I ended up becoming something of a flagbearer for a whole type of book. A larger problem for me was working in a vacuum – there simply wasn’t anyone else doing that sort of work. The biggest problem, of course, was that the number of people who read Indian fiction in English was really small, so very few people were doing this for a living. For example, my first novel was on national bestseller lists for six months, but my earnings from that were barely enough to cover rent. I was doing seven different freelance gigs at a time in 2005, ranging from newspaper columns to writing one-minute sitcoms for an internet portal. There was also some TV work, which thankfully no one realized was mine because the book and TV worlds in India don’t intersect.
It’s quite different now, of course. The Indian market has grown and diversified significantly, and we have people writing pretty much every sort of book here nowadays. A decade ago, there used to be a widespread accusation that Indian writers in English were writing, in some sense, for the West, writing books that had nothing to do with the ‘real India’, whatever that is. But now people are writing (and selling, in copious quantities) books for Indian readers, so you don’t hear that so much.
It’s been interesting, watching new trends come and go – I was recently introduced to someone in her 70s at a book launch as a ‘senior writer.’ I’m 30. The commercial scene has exploded over the last eight years – now there are books which sell in seven-digit figures, whereas earlier it was a huge success if you broke five. Bollywood has become a viable option for several writers – it’s a jungle out there, but with plenty of lost cities full of hidden treasures. Fortunately since my books have done well I no longer have to take on work I actively don’t want to do, which is a huge relief.

I’ve been working in film and comics for a few years now, along with the books. But there hasn’t been much fantasy writing at all, except for kids. In SF, too, there are several very cool writers – you must already be familiar with Anil Menon and Vandana Singh – but their books haven’t got anything like the kind of attention and promotion they deserve. And there aren’t enough SF or fantasy writers here to get a significant momentum going.

All this, of course, applies only to Indian writing in English; Indian languages like Bengali, Hindi, Tamil , Marathi and Malayalam all have far richer traditions and far more diversity – and many more readers. But English publishing is beginning to mature as well, which is good news for people like me.

One of the most interesting things about writing fantasy in India has been that since there are no stereotypes attached to the genre as far as readers are concerned, the readers are not what you’d expect at all. I was expecting teenaged and early-20s men to come for my readings. They did come, but they weren’t the only ones; in an event in Chennai, three generations of Indian women – a family, the exact type of family that Indian literary sagas used to be about – came and said they’d read and loved the book. That was great fun.

There really isn’t a proper Indian spec-fic scene as yet, which is probably the biggest difference between it and the Western spec-fic scene. We don’t have spec-fic magazines, anthologies for adults, editors who specialize in spec-fic, proper conventions, or linkages with the TV/film/comics industry. But this will change soon, as I’ve been telling myself for years. And this is also mostly because there simply aren’t enough successful books in the spec-fic category yet.

On the bright side, we have several excellent publishers who are more than willing to experiment, a rapidly growing industry, several talented writers who are now suddenly aware that it is possible to write for a living, and absolutely no shortage of readers. But it will take a long time before a distinctly Indian school of speculative fiction emerges. This is a process that cannot happen overnight or be reverse engineered.

Did you ever feel pressure, considering you were considered as one of India’s young new writers at the time?

Not really, no. I was never Indian literature’s Next Big Thing. It was (is?) great fun being a young writer, because I got to appear in all these lists of Important Indians – first under-25, then under-30 as I grew older. But that’s stopped now. Because I started early I got to appear on the cover of a national magazine with some really famous people (they needed a writer to be in that list) which is a very entertaining thing to happen if you’re also spending that month wondering where the next paycheque is going to come from.

I also picked a good time to be a young writer because after that writers started getting younger and younger. A new trend this year is teenaged writers. They have many years of appearing in Important Under-Something Indian lists ahead of them.

How did you get involve in comics? How different is this from fiction?

I started seriously reading comics when I was in my early 20s, as a student in the UK. I wish I’d started earlier, but we had no real comics culture in India then – or now, actually, and the only really great comics I’d read before that were Tintin and Asterix. I fell deeply in love with comics – this was after I’d written my first book – and wanted to write several, the only minor problem being that I couldn’t draw to save my life.

A few years later, Virgin Comics started putting comics together in India and asked me to write for them. I jumped on board with no hesitation at all. Those were interesting times. I learned a lot, and I got to work with the best editor I’ve worked with so far, Mackenzie Cadenhead, who used to work at Marvel, and among the things I worked on was a co-writing gig with Mike Carey, who is a writer I admire deeply for both his books and his comics.

It’s completely different from writing books, and a really rewarding experience. There’s nothing that teaches you writing discipline and balance better than doing a script for comics, and every writer who’s interested in plot and character should spend some time writing comics just as a learning exercise. You have to work with such rigour, say and do so much in such little space, while making sure the artist has plenty of elbow room. Screenplays are much easier.

You had a project on Indian speculative fiction. How did this project start? What made you settle on the term speculative fiction? What was your criteria in interviewing the personalities on your blog?

There’s a very interesting cultural foundation called Sarai in Delhi that gives fellowships for research in unusual areas, and it was their idea; I was very enthusiastic. I settled on speculative fiction because it’s a nice umbrella term for a lot of unusual literature that comes out of the Indian subcontinent in various media. And there really isn’t enough SF or fantasy alone to do a reasonably comprehensive analysis, especially given that there isn’t much research in the field and I wouldn’t have been able to source much academic material on spec-fic that I hadn’t heard of in languages I didn’t speak. My criteria in interviewing the people were fairly simple – I just spoke to the best people I could find, either practitioners or international experts I could persuade to be a part of this.

To steal one of your interview questions, what themes/characters would you like to see explored in speculative fiction from India? What do you think Indian SFF writers should avoid?

Let me steal, in turn, bits from some of the answers to those questions that I agree strongly with.

Anil Menon:

I’d like to see a lot more stories set in south-east Asia. I believe places make a huge difference to the stories we tell. Vandana Singh’s Delhi is a beautiful example. So is the late A. K. Ramanujan’s retelling “A Story And A Song”; arguably, it’s the best piece of flash fiction ever written. We’re redolent in people and places, so why not make use of it?

Cheryl Morgan:

I don’t like advising people to write in particular niches because it can lead to you writing to a formula. You should decide what you are good at writing first, and then look at where you should be marketing yourself. As you say, there are many directions that SF&F writing is taking. Most people should be able to find something that suits them. The only bandwagon I’d suggest you jump on is the one created by River of Gods.

Jai Arjun Singh:

I wouldn’t mind seeing some alternative histories, there’s so much scope for those. What if Gandhi had lived past 1948, been actively involved in the politics of the first few years of independent India – and gradually morphed from this benevolent father figure into a regression-fascist, taking the country away from Nehru’s vision of modernity. What if we’d lost the 71 War? What if Sanjay Gandhi had lived, gotten into coalition politics and built up a large enough base to impose a second, more potent Emergency? Lots of other possibilities.

And this will probably remain a fantasy in itself, but I’d like to see a lot more really explicit sex in Indian comics – pornographic versions of Amar Chitra Katha and what-not (there’s so much potential in Indian mythology, why not use it). Speculative, conspiracy-theory writing along the lines that the real reason the Mahabharata War occurred was that Krishna had been secretly bonking the Kaurava women on the side. Obviously, that sort of thing can never really be published in this country but you get the idea…

Matthew Cheney:

I’d like to see more new work that is surprising. I don’t have any interest in reading books that are just like all the other books I’ve read. New writers often want to be just like the writers who first captured their imaginations, and so they write imitations, which is a good way to learn some skills, but it’s not what we should be paying much attention to as readers and editors and critics. We’ve got Charles Stross already, we don’t not a bunch of mini-Strosses. We’ve got China Mieville already, we don’t need more. These are interesting writers because they’re not just like everybody else, but the danger of their success is that suddenly 100 people start trying to write just like them, and that’s a dead end. Even Stross and Mieville shouldn’t try to write like themselves. (Self-imitation is a danger of success — just look at what happened to the quality of Isaac Asimov’s work when in the 1980s he tried to imitate his old successes.) New writers should strive for an original vision, for material that they can make theirs, and they should do so with passion and vigor, writing the truth of the world as they see it, striving all the while to be not merely entertaining (we’ve got plenty of things to entertain us) but also something more — and there are a thousand somethings more to strive toward.

In the West, one mentality when it comes to speculative fiction is that there’s a division between fiction for adults (where genre is looked down upon) and fiction for children (where it’s acceptable). Is there such a division in India and do you think such divisions are necessary?

This division doesn’t really exist in India, probably because, again, there isn’t enough work to classify. But I don’t think there’s any particular aversion to SFF for children or for adults in this country. Also, given that most of the really huge international sensations over the last few years – for adults, young adults and kids – have been in the spec-field field, in films, books, and comics, there will always be more people creating work in the field and more people willing to sell it. I don’t think these divisions are necessary in the first place, but in the West they’ve arisen from a need to classify books given an overabundance of really good books. And we get all these books in India as well, now. The ebook revolution is going to make everything even more interesting.

Where do you see the future of Indian speculative fiction headed?

After eight years in the field, I can honestly say that I have no idea. There are a couple of SF/fantasy titles published by the better publishers every year, and many of these do well.

The international barrier is very strong, though, unless you’re looking at the cultural guilt market. My earlier books mostly got rejected in the West by very nice editors who told me they liked the books but didn’t know how to sell a fantasy trilogy by an unknown Indian. Which is unpleasant to hear, but market realities are mostly unpleasant. Once they do figure out a way, or when the perfect book for this breakthrough comes along, there’s going to be a revolution, but when that’ll happen is something I wish I knew. I’m hoping that my new novel, out in India in October, is going to be a part of that change. I have a wonderful agent in the UK now, who tells me there are publishers interested, and a decision coming soon, so I’m waiting and hoping – which is what pretty much every writer does all the time, isn’t it?

Anything you want to plug?

The Internet. It’s amazing. Also e-readers. I bought an iPad a few months ago, and it is seriously beautiful.

September 28, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 1 Comment

The Apex Book of World SF Vol. II Table of Contents

Lavie’s away so in the meantime, here’s the table of contents to the anthology he’s editing: The Apex Book of World SF Vol. II.

Rochita Loenen-Ruiz (Philippines)–Alternate Girl’s Expatriate Life
Ivor W. Hartmann (Zimbabwe)–Mr. Goop
Daliso Chaponda (Malawi)–Trees of Bone
Daniel Salvo (Peru)–The First Peruvian in Space
Gustavo Bondoni (Argentina)–Eyes in the Vastness of Forever
Chen Qiufan (China)–The Tomb
Joyce Chng (Singapore)–The Sound of Breaking Glass
Csilla Kleinheincz (Hungary)–A Single Year
Andrew Drilon (Philippines)–The Secret Origin of Spin-man
Anabel Enriquez Piñeiro (Cuba)–Borrowed Time (trans. Daniel W. Koon)
Lauren Beukes (South Africa)–Branded
Raúl Flores Iriarte (Cuba)–December 8
Will Elliott (Australia)–Hungry Man
Shweta Narayan (India)–Nira and I
Fábio Fernandes (Brazil)–Nothing Happened in 1999
Tade Thompson (Nigeria)–Shadow
Hannu Rajaniemi (Finland)–Shibuya no Love
Silvia Moreno-Garcia (Mexico)–Maquech
Sergey Gerasimov (Ukraine)–The Glory of the World
Tim Jones (New Zealand)–The New Neighbours
Nnedi Okorafor (Nigeria/US)–From the Lost Diary of TreeFrog7
Gail Har’even (Israel)–The Slows
Ekaterina Sedia (Russia/US)–Zombie Lenin
Samit Basu (India)–Electric Sonalika
Andrzej Sapkowski (Poland)–The Malady (trans. Wiesiek Powaga)
Jacques Barcia (Brazil)–A Life Made Possible Behind The Barricades

September 27, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Comments Off on The Apex Book of World SF Vol. II Table of Contents

Apex Magazine to host special Arab/Muslim Issue in November

Catherynne Valente, editor of Apex Magazine, has announced the November issue will be a special showcase issue:

I was thinking the other day about the whole horrifying Elizabeth Moon situation.

I don’t like to just watch bad things happen and make outraged noises and then go back to reading the intertubes like nothing happened. I always want to do something–something positive, something that stands on its own and says something good just by being. I can’t do anything about Moon or Wiscon or any of it. I’m not on the concom and I’m not a habitual buyer of Moon’s books.

What I am is the editor of Apex Magazine.

And I have the Wand of Editorial Oomph.

I would like to announce that the November issue of Apex will be an entirely Arab/Muslim issue. It will be beautiful. It will showcase writers of Arab descent and Muslim writers. (I am aware that many folk not of Arab descent are Muslim, that’s why I’m structuring it this way, so that writers from either culture or both can be part of the issue.) It will show how Islam is as much a part of the human experience as any other faith or story system that writers of the fantastic draw from. It will be a small thing, in the grand scheme. It will not save the world. But it will exist, and perhaps in its own way can stand beside the recent ugliness in the SFF world as something bright and good.

I am looking for material, but most especially poetry, from Muslim authors and authors of Arab descent. Let’s make it easy: if you think you might “count,” then you do. Southeast Asian Muslims, yes. American Muslims, yes. Anybody with a connection to the cultures of Islam, yes. The subject of your works can be anything you like, but I am only looking for authors with connections to Islam and/or the Arabic world. Please do not send reprints, we have that covered.

I want to do what I can. This is a thing I can do. I believe it will be extraordinary.

Submissions guidelines:

1) Mail submissions to
2) Maximum word length a firm 7,500 words.
3) Payment is .05 per word. Paid within 30 days of publication.
4) Please submit either a Microsoft Word Doc or RTF file.
5) Use standard manuscript formatting as outlined by William Shunn. Essentially–double space, 12 pt. Courier or Times New Roman, 1″ borders.
6) We accept reprint submissions. However, your story must have been sold to a highly respected semi-professional (think InterzoneWeird Tales, and so forth) or professional publication (F&SFAnalog, and so on). Payment is a flat $10. Mark your story as a reprint in the subject heading of your email. Word limit for reprints is 10,000.

Poetry Guidelines:

1) Send no more than five poems at a time. No simultaneous submissions with other publishers.
2) Payment is $0.25 per line or $5 per poem, whichever is greater, paid within 30 days of publication.
3) Format your submission professionally (Writers Digest format). Single-space within stanzas.
4) Poems formatted flush left are preferred over those requiring special formatting (concrete poems, poems with staggered indentation, etc.). We’re looking for creativity of expression rather than of page layout.
5) Mail submissions to

September 24, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | 3 Comments

Short Story Highlight: “Logovore” by Joseph Nacino, at Fantasy Magazine

The latest story at Fantasy Magazine is Logovore, by Filipino writer Joseph F. Nacino:

He lives on words.

Literally, he eats them for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Sometimes he has them for snacks too.

For example, the word “effervescent’” is a tasty morsel, a bit on the spicy side with a light tinge of sweetness. Or the words “cavalcade” and “arboretum” are good together, the former’s saltiness combining well with the basil after-taste of the latter. He loves the feel of words on his tongue before he swallows them.

Of course, he eats and drinks what other people do. No point in letting others see what you really are. Like now, sitting with his fellow college English teachers from Ateneo de Manila University at a bar along Katipunan Avenue—he is drinking San Mig Light beer and eating appetizers like sisig and tokwa’t baboy while exchanging gossip.

It’s fun, sometimes. Sometimes being the operative word, of course.

So Cherie goes and tells him to pass the varsity player even after he drops all his classes.

No shit! Well, what did he expect?

Yeah. It’s all about winning, I know. What I hate is if you get on Cherie’s bad side. She can be a real nasty bitch when she puts her mind to it.

He can’t resist now and then snatching words around him. For example, a couple is talking dirty to each other at a nearby table. Words like “torrid” and “climax” are aphrodisiac to him—until someone says “orgasmatory” and he loses all appetite.

New words always leave a bad taste in his mouth.

I still don’t get what the new program is all about.

Me, all I understand is that I’m overloaded with students clamoring for classes.

You’re overloaded? Almost all my subjects have been cancelled because there haven’t been enough students!

He wonders if there are others like him. Others who share his preference. Are there others who like the taste of Cyrillic? French? Or even a dialect like Bisaya with its hard words like “kadyot” or “pesteng yawa”?

That’s one way he eats. The other is a bit. . . noticeable.


What’s the problem?

I’m trying to remember this poem by Neruda. But there’s this word at the tip of my tongue that I can’t. . . Aggh!

He smiles at the taste blossoming on his tongue, like a claret of good wine, dry and sharp like blood: “melancholy”.

Hey Kathy! Over here!

It’s at that moment that Kathy walks into his life. – continue reading.

September 23, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Comments Off on Short Story Highlight: “Logovore” by Joseph Nacino, at Fantasy Magazine

Introducing Malaysian writer Ika Vanderkoeck

A great article in The Star newspaper profiles young Malaysian writer Ika Vanderkoeck: Living Out A Fantasy, by Allan Koay.

“I never thought of writing short stories until recently,” says Ika, 25, whose full name is Zulaikha Nurain Mudzar, but took on Vanderkoeck as her pen name to honour her mother’s Dutch parentage.

“My mentor, Janny Wurts, who is already an established author, introduced me to (editors) Julie E. Czerneda and Rob St Martin. They were then having a competition to find new writers. I decided to give it a go.”

It took her two weeks to come up with the first draft, after which Wurts sent it back to her for another two weeks of rewriting.

Her story, Crossing The Waters, is about an ancient tribe that has to make an important decision about foreign travellers encroaching upon its land.

“People have this misconception that because it’s fantasy, you can write anything you want,” says Ika. “My story is based on the Age Of Sail. In the first draft, the details were all wrong. My mentor is an expert in ships and all that, and she said, ‘Do you know that during the 16th century, they didn’t have wheels on a ship? Go back and do your research!’ Even then she was really encouraging. She thought it was a good first draft, and got me to try again and get the details right.”

Ika, whose mother is Dutch-Indonesian and father is Malaysian, is a corporate affairs executive by day. She writes “corporate materials” during her day job, but sits at her personal computer at night creating worlds of magic and wonder. She completed her first novel when she was only 16, churning it out “in between school and work.”

Being young and ambitious, she initially thought all she had to do after completing her novel was to get it published. It wasn’t long before reality kicked in hard – finishing a novel is just the first small step in a long, arduous journey. – continue reading.

September 22, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | 3 Comments

Announcing new English-French web magazine, Onirismes

We’re glad to announce the formation of a new French-English magazine, Onirismes, a “bilingual webzine dedicated to publishing short fiction and poetry that belong in the fields of speculative and fantastic literature (Fantasy, Science fiction, and all kinds of interstitial experiments).”

Based in France, Onirismes is currently looking for submissions. Stories will be published in both French and English.


Send all submissions to Submissions sent in any other way will simply be ignored. Please include your first and last name (and a pen name if you wish) with any submission. If some of your work has been published before, briefly tell us about it.

Word limit: Between 2000 and 4000 words for short stories. We have no fixed rule for poetry, just don’t send us the Iliad.

Rights: We claim exclusive world electronic rights (text and audio) for 6 months, then non-exclusive rights for a 2-year period. For that reason, a text submitted to Onirismesmust not have been published before, regardless of the medium.

Pay Rate: We pay €60 flat for short stories, €20 flat for poems.

Please send us ONE text at a time, and do not send queries until after a 30-day period has passed.

We’re especially sensitive to creative writing, and will focus on innovative works that demonstrate the unique voice of their writer.

To English speaking authors: please note that the publishing activity of Onirismes is regulated by French law.

September 21, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | 3 Comments

A Report on Brazil’s 4th Fantasycon

Over at the Apex blog, Christopher Kastensmidt reports on the 4th annual Fantasycon in São Paulo, Brazil:

This last weekend (the last weekend in August) I participated in Fantasticon 2010: IV Symposium of Fantastic Literature in São Paulo.  This impressive event, dedicated exclusively to speculative fiction literature, gathered together most of Brazil’s top SF editors and writers.  Let me summarize by saying: 1) Fantastic literature in Brazil is thriving, and 2) I should be reading a lot more of it!

Although Fantasticon is in its fourth year, this was my first real-life contact with both the event and the Brazilian speculative fiction community at large.  And what an amazing community it is.  Even with my relative ignorance of the Brazilian SF field (I’ve read several collections and novels, but only a drop in the bucket of what’s out there), people were open to discussion and recommendations.  Everyone was wonderful, but then again I think that describes the speculative fiction community the world over.  I’m glad to be a part of it!

The event was housed in a thematic library which deals only with fantasy literature for kids (how cool is that?).  The administration allowed Fantasticon to use their space free of charge, which helped keep the entry fee at the extremely reasonable price of free!  For the most part, Fantasticon consisted of two parallel tracks: one for workshops and one for panels.  Anyone could participate in any event, but had to grab a number beforehand to prevent overcrowding.

Over twenty books were launched at the event, not to mention a huge gamut of previously-published fantasy titles for sale, proving that fantastic literature in Brazil has come a long way in the last decade. – continue reading!

Or click here for photos of the event, taken by Leandro Reis.

Young writers of Fantasy, Brazil, 2010, photo by Leandro Reis.

September 20, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Comments Off on A Report on Brazil’s 4th Fantasycon

Introducing Israel’s Icon TLV: A Science Fiction and Fantasy Festival

Festival director Uri Aviv speaks to Midnight East about Icon TLV, a “multi-disciplinary cultural event with films, guest speakers, workshops, gaming, discussions and more”, a  week-long festival that opens on September 25, 2010 at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque.

The theme of this year’s festival is “Heroes and Monsters” and the content encompasses a variety of disciplines – film, books, art, design, games, yet says Aviv, “all have a common connection.” As the festival approaches, Aviv has been working round the clock along with festival producer Elad Peleg and a group of dedicated volunteers. Aviv views his role as that of a curator working with “a sense of wonder as the underlying theme. The imagination takes off from the question: What if?” 15 years ago, a group of science fiction fans, Aviv among them, initiated ICON, “so that there would be this kind of event in Israel, because there wasn’t anything like it,” says Aviv, “Today – 15 years later, there is no event quite like ICON anywhere else in the world today.” – continue reading.

September 19, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Comments Off on Introducing Israel’s Icon TLV: A Science Fiction and Fantasy Festival

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